Yesterday's hockey game was the most entertaining hockey game I have seen since the playoffs last year. It was a close hockey game with both teams playing a skilled yet physical game. The game went into overtime and it took 5 shots by each team for a winner to be decided. Johan Franzen scored his first goal of the season to win the game. Unfortunately, the goal won't show up on his stats sheet, but hopefully he'll get a boost of confidence from it and we'll see a goal in regulation from the Mule soon.
"I had a couple of (scoring) chances in overtime, so maybe he (coach Mike Babcock) felt I had something going," Franzen said. "I was a little surprised."
Babcock was just looking ahead. Franzen has no points this season and missed 10 games because of a sprained right knee.
Babcock placed Franzen on the fourth line the past couple of games, looking for some sort of spark to get Franzen going.
"Maybe scoring in the shootout will get him going," Babcock said.
Surprisingly, Henrik Zetterberg did not register a single shot on net, but he did get an offensive point with an assist on Pavel Datsyuk's goal in the third period. Datsyuk also earned an assist earlier in the game. Tomas Holmstrom scored once and also got an assist. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom scored a goal and notched two assists in the Wings' winning effort. His defensive partner Brian Rafalski also earned two assists.
Goaltender Chris Osgood has some nice saves in the victory as he stopped 36 of 40 shots in the game. At the 20 game mark into the season, beat writer Bruce MacLeod gave Ozzie an A (and his goalie counterpart Dominik Hasek received a C-).
Osgood is clearly the better goalie right now. But with Hasek in line to be the playoff goalie, Osgood is part of a goalie rotation. Osgood finally had his 20-game streak without a regulation loss snapped, but still finished the first quarter with a 9-1-0 record and a .931 save percentage. He's one of the top netminders in the league through 20 games.
Forward Aaron Downey may not have made it onto the scoresheet on Detroit's first two goals, but he played a critical role in getting the Wings' a two minute long 5-on-3 power play that resulted in two goals.
"It was an opportunity," said Downey. "I tried to shove it on my backhand and I went into the net. There was just a little opportunity to give Leclaire a little jab with my left hand. I think that really bothered him a little bit. He hit me with his blocker. I think Jody Shelley saw me hit him, so Shelley he lost it. He came in and sucker-punched me. As soon as Shelley hit me a second time, I knew there'd be a second penalty. I just tried to keep my composure and get back to the bench.
"Drawing penalties is one thing I've done good over the years. I want to show that I can keep doing that here. It's kind of a chess game out there. The game nowadays is who makes mistakes."
The Wings continue play against their Central Division opponents on Wednesday evening against the St. Louis Blues. Detroit currently sits six points atop the Chicago Blackhawks in the division standings and have four points on the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference. The Ottawa Senators have one more point than the Wings for the overall league.